Journal Article

The metallicity of diffuse intrahalo light

Chris W. Purcell, James S. Bullock and Andrew R. Zentner

in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

Published on behalf of The Royal Astronomical Society

Volume 391, issue 2, pages 550-558
Published in print December 2008 | ISSN: 0035-8711
Published online November 2008 | e-ISSN: 1365-2966 | DOI:
The metallicity of diffuse intrahalo light

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We make predictions for the metallicity of diffuse stellar components in systems ranging from small spiral galaxies to rich galaxy clusters. We extend the formalism of Purcell, Bullock & Zentner, in which diffuse stellar mass is produced via galaxy disruption, and we convolve this result with the observed mass–metallicity relation for galaxies in order to analyse the chemical abundance of intrahalo light (IHL) in host haloes with virial mass 1010.5Mhost≤ 1015M. We predict a steep rise of roughly 2 dex in IHL metallicity from the scales of small to large spiral galaxies. In terms of the total dynamical mass Mhost of the host systems under consideration, we predict diffuse light metallicities ranging from ZIHL≲−2.5 for Mhost∼ 1011M to ZIHL∼−1.0 for Mhost∼ 1012M. In larger systems, we predict a more shallow rise in this trend with ZIHL∼−0.4 for Mhost∼ 1013M, increasing to ZIHL∼ 0.1 for Mhost∼ 1015M. This behaviour is coincident with a narrowing of the intrahalo metallicity distribution as host mass increases. The observable distinction in surface brightness between old, metal-poor IHL stars and more metal rich, dynamically younger tidal streams is of crucial importance when estimating the chemical abundance of an intrahalo population with multiple origins.

Keywords: galaxies: evolution; galaxies: formation; cosmology: theory

Journal Article.  7199 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Astronomy and Astrophysics

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